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Head of Strategic Research

Job Introduction

Job Description for Head of Strategic Research:

There’s never been a more exciting time to be part of the nuclear sector. New opportunities are being created all the time. At NNL, you’ll be in the ideal place to capitalise on this momentum, face new challenges and develop a long, successful and meaningful career. 

We’re an organisation that’s here to experiment and push the limits of what’s possible. So, if you’re keen to excel in your chosen field, this is the place to do it. Because at NNL, anything is possible.

Accelerate the delivery of the NNL Strategic Plan, NNL Programmes and NNL Science & Technology Agenda through leading on Science & Technology investment in strategic research and driving successful partnerships.

Create national and international thought leadership around Nuclear technology.

As part of the Science & Technology Agenda, develop and manage strategic and collaborative research and development programmes that are of benefit to NNL and the broader national and international Nuclear Sector.

The location of this role is flexible.

Role Responsibility

Main Responsibilities for Head of Strategic Research:

  • Ensure that Science & Technology strategic research programmes drive value into national and international nuclear R&D.
  • Lead on existing and develop new strategic research programmes.
  • Drive the alignment of strategic research programmes to the NNL Strategic Plan and Science & Technology Agenda.
  • Establish the strategic opportunity timeline that will maximise benefits realisation.
  • Work across NNL to support and develop strategic thinking to enable appropriate NNL Science & Technology investment.
  • Work with wider stakeholders and customers to ensure strategic research programmes are appropriate for the size and nature of their challenges.
  • Spot trends in research and development from other industry sectors and create opportunities to integrate these into nuclear.
  • Create opportunities for joint investments with other budget holders.
  • Act as the Science & Technology lead for development and management of Collaborating Centres to drive national and international value.
  • Act as the Science & Technology lead for future infrastructure strategy to underpin the Science & Technology Agenda.
  • Develop appropriate value metrics for strategic research.
  • Provide support to the Science and Technology Director including input to the Science and Technology Board.
  • Raise the profile of the NNL brand through publications, working with the leaders of the business and in line with the NNL Strategic Plan and Science & Technology Agenda.
  • Lead, motivate and develop a virtual team of scientists and engineers across the NNL organisation.

The Ideal Candidate

Essential Criteria for Head of Strategic Research:

  • Graduate degree with an inquisitive and creative mind and a track record of successful delivery of high-quality research and development within a science and technology environment.
  • Understands the changes happening in the nuclear market and able to shape and invest in research today that will address tomorrow’s challenges.
  • Commercial mind-set e.g. driving the research pipeline, delivering innovative solutions and factors contributing to quality, talent, collaboration and national value, with experience in identifying the business opportunities presented by science and technology.  
  • Experience of creating and delivering successful national and international R&D programmes.
  • Experience of working across sectors and with government departments to understand research culture, drive disruptive change and securing research investments.
  • Experience of working in the nuclear industry or some other highly regulated environment is desirable along with experience / understanding of procurement processes to facilitate research and development.
  • A proven, engaging and articulate leader who is results driven with a reputation for influencing change. 
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills with an ability to collaborate.
  • Ability to obtain SC level security clearance (this includes but is not limited to identity, employment, financial and criminal record checks plus 5 years’ worth of UK residency).

About the Company

Grounded in robust science and decades of experience, National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) is the authoritative voice in the UK and beyond for technological development within the nuclear power sector.

Our unparalleled understanding of the science, challenges and opportunities makes us an unrivalled authority and partner in the field, providing experts, technologies, and access to cutting-edge facilities to organisations around the world.

Harnessing potential technologies and translating them into to industry-ready solutions means our pioneering approach spearheads international improvement and technological progress.

We work on projects as small as drilling a hole to analyse underground wastes with our integrated micro drilling technology, or as large as developing state-of-the-art power systems for spacecraft, based on radioactive materials

NNL has a vision for Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (ED&I) where NNL aims to be an inclusive workplace that attracts diverse talent through transparent and equal policies and procedures. We want you and the diverse mix of people that we employ, customers that we service and stakeholders that we influence to feel valued. We encourage a workplace culture where everyone can thrive with a sense of belonging.

Recruitment Agency Notice

We operate a strict Preferred Supplier List (PSL) for the provision of recruitment services. Only agencies on our PSL may provide CVs and only when the role is released to them by our recruitment team. We will not accept unsolicited CVs from suppliers not currently on our PSL. We explicitly reserve the right to add candidate details from unsolicited CVs from non-PSL agencies into our own candidate database and to pursue/hire such candidate(s) without any obligation, financial or otherwise, to the agency concerned.

National Nuclear Laboratory


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